MTA Telecom Policy: Local impact of USF & ICC
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MTA Telecom Policy: Local impact of USF & ICC

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A presentation made by Brent Christensen (of the MN Telecommunications Alliance) to the Minnesota Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee Jan 31 meeting – talking about the impact......

A presentation made by Brent Christensen (of the MN Telecommunications Alliance) to the Minnesota Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee Jan 31 meeting – talking about the impact changes in USF and ICC will have on local consumers, providers and policymakers. (Jan 31, 2012)

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  • 1. TELECOM 101 PART 2
  • 2. LEFTOVER FROM PART 1• Fees on Telephone bills per month: – Federal USF: 17.9% – 911 fees: $.80/line (911 Budget is XXXXXXX) – Telephone Assistance Plan: $.06/line (TAP Budget is $1.3 million/yr) – Telephone Access Minnesota: $.06/line (TAM Budget is $5.6 million/yr)
  • 3. TWO SETS OF RULES• Price Cap Carriers – CenturyLink – Frontier – Windstream• Rate of Return Carriers – All other Telcos
  • 4. THREE MAJOR TERMS WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT TODAY• USF (Universal Service Fund): All telephone subscribers (wireline and wireless) pay a FUSC (Federal Universal Service Charge) on their monthly phone bill. It is a percentage of the bill that changes every quarter. The money is administered by USAC and distributed a variety of ways to reduce the high cost of providing service to rural areas.• ICC (Inter-Carrier Compensation): Money that is paid between telephone companies to originate and terminate calls. In the wireline world it is typically LD companies paying local companies to use the local company’s lines.• CAF (Connect America Fund): The FCC order will transition the present high cost universal service fund to a CAF that will support broadband capable networks in targeted high cost unserved and underserved areas.
  • 5. TELCO REVENUES*Data based on a sample of 74 MTA member companies. MTA member companies predominantly provide service to rural and small town areas, serving over 50% of Minnesota’s land mass.
  • 6. History of FCC Order• Part of the 2009 Federal stimulus package called for FCC to develop National Broadband Plan by February 2010, actually came out March of 2010• Numerous Notice for Proposed Rulemaking and comments in 2010 and 2011, including a joint plan from large carriers (AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and others) and small rural carriers represented by NECA, NTCA, OPASTCO, and WTA• FCC adopts USF/ICC reform plan at their meeting on October 27, 2011.• FCC issued written Order (751 pages) on November 18, 2011• There are 27 requests for reconsideration and 13 lawsuits
  • 7. FOR THOSE WHO RECEIVE USF SUPPORTThe Order changes compensation for Plain OldTelephone Service (POTS) from the USF fundfirst, consumers second to consumers first, CAFsecond, which is not fully defined.
  • 8. IMPACT OF ORDER ON STATE REGULATION• Tariffs had to be filed with the PUC before 12/31/11 for VoIP to PSTN Traffic and PSTN to VoIP Traffic.• Order – Reduces USF dollar for dollar for carriers that maintain “artificially low” voice rates Report Date Rate Floor Effective Date January 1, 2012 $ 10.00 July 1, 2012 January 1, 2013 $ 14.00 July 1, 2013 January 1, 2014 TBD July 1, 2014 *One Time Reporting per year -Lost Support is for Full 12 months• Effectively increased local rates due to CAF - Access Recovery charge of up to $.50 year/ $3.00 total for residential customers.
  • 9. IMPACT OF ORDER ON STATE REGULATION (Continued)• Local service Telephone rates will effectively be $30/month over a 6 year period, regardless of the number of people you can call locally.• The Order establishes a uniform transitional mechanism for both Interstate and Intrastate calls: – All interstate access rates, terminating intrastate rates are capped as of the effective date of the rules adopted pursuant to this Order. – Interstate and intrastate terminating switched end office and transport rates and recip comp rates if above the interstate access rates must be brought to parity within two steps, by July 2013. – Carriers must reduce their termination (and for some carriers their transport ) rates to bill-and-keep within nine years for rate of return carriers. – The schedule for RoR carriers : terminating switched end –office and recip comp rates are reduced to $.005 by July 1, 2016 and to .0007 by July1, 2019. – The FCC will consider transitioning originating access to bill-and- keep at a later date
  • 10. Federal Universal Service Reform: Phase I CAF: Phase I• Existing High Cost Support Mechanism: Legacy support levels will be frozen at 2011 levels and announced by February 15, 2012. These amounts will be distributed on a monthly basis effective January 2012 until Phase II has been implemented• [Phase I Incremental Support: Up to $300M additional funding will be made available to price cap carriers for the deployment of broadband• Available funding amounts will be announced by the FCC March 31, 2012; carriers can accept all, some, or none• Within 90 days, the carrier must provide notice to the states of the amount of support it accepts and identify the areas by wire center and census block that it intends to deploy broadband 10
  • 11. Federal Universal Service Reform: Phase I CAF Phase I Obligations• Frozen high-cost support must be used in a manner consistent with achieving universal availability of voice and broadband. If Phase I support is extended beyond 2012, the requirement to use frozen support for expanding broadband into currently unserved locations will phase in.• Recipients of incremental CAF Phase I support must deploy broadband to at least one unserved location for each $775 in support it receives. – Deployment of at least 4/1 Mbps must occur in areas shown in the National Broadband Map as unserved at 768/200 Kbps – Two thirds of location must be built within 2 years and 100% within 3 years 11
  • 12. Federal Universal Service Reform: Phase II CAF Phase II• During 2012, the FCC will develop a forward looking cost model to estimate the cost of deploying broadband capable networks in high cost areas and to identify at a granular level where support will be available. Currently targeted for introduction in 2013.• Supported locations will be in areas not served by an unsubsidized wireline competitor.• Total available support for price cap carriers will be limited to the $1.8B budget. For rate of return carriers, the cap is $2.2B• Annual support, as determined by the cost model, for a period of five years will be offered to each price cap carrier on a state by state basis in exchange for a commitment to offer voice service throughout its service area and broadband service to supported locations.• Support will be awarded through a competitive bid auction for all areas where a price cap LEC declines the Phase II support. 12
  • 13. Federal Universal Service Reform: Phase II CAF Phase II Obligations• By the end of the 3rd year, carriers must offer at least 4/1 Mbps broadband service to at least 85% of the high cost locations• By the end of the 5th year, carriers must offer at least 4/1 Mbps broadband service to 100% of the high cost locations and 6/1.5 Mbps to a portion of the locations (to be identified by the CAF Model)• Waivers can be sought for the 1 Mbps upstream requirement to the extent a carrier can demonstrate that the support is insufficient 13
  • 14. Federal Universal Service Reform: State Roles• Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) Certification• States maintain an ongoing role in annual ETC certifications.• States now must certify all high-cost support was used in the preceding year and will be used in the coming calendar year consistent with purposes for which the support is intended.• Beginning April 1, 2012, the FCC rules now require all ETCs that receive support to annually file specific information with the FCC, USAC and the states.• Annual certifications by the state must be filed by October 1 of each year in order for carriers to receive full support in the succeeding year. 14
  • 15. Federal Universal Service Reform: State Roles Continued • Commission will need to act on issues relating to phase down of Intrastate access rates and VoIP to PSTN access rates. • Intrastate Access Tariff filings related to FCC ordered billing of Interstate Access rates for Intrastate Toll VoIP-PSTN traffic. (Done) • RLEC access filings to implement Interstate Transport restructure for Intrastate Access billing (early 2nd qtr. 2012?). • Tariff filings to implement 1st year terminating Intrastate Access Rate reductions – effective July 1, 2012. • Increased number of Local rate increase filings. • Changes in ETC certification & timing process. • Potential arbitration issues related to wireless to wireline interconnection agreements.